No-one knows where the Iron Man came from. A towering iron giant that devours metal and strikes fear into all those that lay their eyes upon him. The Iron Man is a foreboding figure with a head the size of a bedroom colour changing eyes that glow white and then red. A figure of such size needs feeding often and the Iron Man has one very big appetite that needs satisfying…with metal.
As the iron giant beings to destroy the land, eating anything metal that he finds, the local farmers decide that something must be done. They have the perfect solution - a hidden pit that will trap the Iron Man and then he will be buried forever, deep underground. But when a strange mythical beast descends from the sky and threatens everyone on planet earth, the Iron Man may be the only one that can defeat the beast and save humankind…
The Iron Man is a wonderful read with one of my favourite first chapters to a book. It is the first science-fiction book I remember reading as a child and it retains as much appeal today as it did back then (thirty plus years ago). The gripping narrative features messages on kindness and friendship and really gets the reader to question how we treat others and the importance of not making judgements based on appearance. Where everyone can only see the dangers of the Iron Man, one young boy can see the good and befriends the giant. I really like how Ted Hughes develops the Iron Man from a character who the reader should be fearful of to one that we ultimately feel empathy towards.
Some will argue that the prose have perhaps became a little dated and at times the read can feel a little clunky but for me it remains one of my must-read books and I love sharing it with children. There is something very special about the Iron Man and children are captivated by him, I attribute much of this to the opening lines of the book…”The Iron Man came to the top of the cliff. How far had he walked? Nobody knows. Where had he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows.” This opening is pure gold, grabbing the reader’s attention and immediately making them think and making them want to read on to find out the answers to these questions.
The Iron Man still holds as much appeal today as it did when it was first published in 1968. A true classic of children's literature and an essential read for every single child.
Recommended for 7+.
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